SOMERVILLE – On Tuesday, Sept. 26, Officer Christopher Fusco of the Somerville Police Department was dispatched to the parking lot of 34 Marshall Street following a report of a motor vehicle accident.
(The following account and quotations were taken from the Personnel Narrative of Officer Fusco.)
When Officer Fusco arrived on scene, he was met with the reporting party, a woman who said she and her boyfriend were seated in his parked car, when a white vehicle drove by them, turned around and side swiped their vehicle, then backed down Oakland Avenue and parked.
The woman then pointed out the vehicle, which was parked, but running, in the parking lot.
“I approached the vehicle, it was running and when I shined my flashlight into it, I saw a female in the driver’s seat,” said Officer Fusco. “I approached the driver’s side and knocked on the window. A female opened the door and I asked her what was going on.”
According to Officer Fusco, the woman – later identified as Alondra McClung – seemed confused. McClung, 21, is a resident of 35 Marshall Street in Somerville.
“I asked her what had happened in the accident and she denied any accident occurring,” Officer Fusco said. “I noticed her speech to be slurred and her eyelids to be droopy. I asked her to turn the car off and give me the keys to the car. I then requested an additional unit and Officer [Jamey] Thompson responded.”
While waiting for Officer Thompson, Officer Fusco asked McClung for her driver’s license.
“She began digging into the glove compartment and ended up trying to hand me a piece of paper that she said was the registration but it was not,” Officer Fusco said. “I asked Ms. McClung how she got the damage to her car. She stated there was no damage. I asked her to step out so I could show her what I spoke of. I would note there was extensive damage to the front end, with the hood being bent and crumpled. There was also damage to the front passenger side front quarter panel.”
Officer Fusco said that when McClung exited the car, she was so unsteady on her feet that she stumbled three times before using the car for balance.
“McClung told me the damage to the side was old, even though in my training and experience it appeared new,” Officer Fusco said. “She also ignored the damage to the hood and would not tell me if that was old or how she got it. She further went on to try to explain to me that the suspension was recently fixed and in her words, ‘In August of September.’ I could not get her to clarify this statement and most of the things she said did not make sense.”
Officer Fusco then asked McClung is she had anything to drink that evening and she said no. She also said she hadn’t taken any drugs, even though there was a marijuana vape pen lying on the floor of her car in plain sight.
“I asked her if she had used a Marijuana vape pen this evening and she stated no. I pointed out that there was one on the floor of her car and she stated it must be her boyfriend’s,” Officer Fusco said.
When Officer Fusco asked McClung what she had been doing that evening, she said that she was at Fellsway Plaza with her boyfriend.
“I asked her what Fellsway Plaza was, as it was not a location I was familiar with,” Officer Fusco said. “She could not clarify. I asked if she had been at a restaurant, bar, store, or any other place she could identify. She said no, she was at the plaza. I asked her what did she do after that. She stated, ‘I drank, then I drank home.’”
When Officer Fusco asked McClung to clarify if she had been drinking and then drove home, she said yes. When asked how many drinks she had, McClung said she had one.
Officer Fusco asked McClung to return to her car, and shortly thereafter, Officer Thompson arrived on scene.
Officer Fusco asked Officer Thompson to stay with McClung while he spoke with the reporting parties involved in the accident.
“I assured [the female reporting party] we would be done soon as she was standing outside the car at this time and appeared cold,” Officer Fusco said. “I returned to Ms. McClung and Officer Thompson. I went to Officer Thompson’s cruiser and activated the scene lights to illuminate the area, I would note his front facing blue lights were off. I asked Ms. McClung to join me in the street as it was now blocked off and safe to perform roadside assessments there.”
Officer Fusco inquired with McClung about whether she had contacts on, to which she replied she didn’t. When questioned if she typically used glasses, she said she did but wasn’t wearing them at the moment. Upon querying about any bodily injuries, she confirmed she had none. Similarly, when questioned about any balance issues or medications, she said no to both. I further clarified by asking specifically about injuries to her legs, back, feet, neck, or head, and she again confirmed she had none.
Officer Fusco then began the field sobriety tests.
The initial test Officer Fusco conducted was the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, which identifies involuntary eye jerking. For the stimulus, the officer used his finger tip. Officer Fusco asked McClung if she could observe his finger, and she confirmed she could. He then asked her to touch his finger tip, which she did. However, Officer Fusco said he had to instruct her twice to lower her hand before she obliged. Upon examining her eyes, he said they demonstrated equal dilation, lacked resting Nystagmus, and tracked uniformly. He added that her eyes appeared bloodshot and had a glassy look.
“I then performed the test: Ms. McClung had lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes, distinct and sustained Nystagmus at maximum deviation, and onset of Nystagmus prior to 45 degrees. She did not have vertical gaze Nystagmus,” Officer Fusco said.
Officer Fusco then performed the “walk and turn” test.
Officer Fusco instructed McClung to utilize the white line of a crosswalk as the guiding straight line. He asked her to assume the instructional position. He showed her how to position her left foot on the line and place her right foot in front, ensuring the heel of the right foot touched the toe of the left. He directed her to let her hands hang by her sides.
Officer Fusco said McClung lost her balance during the instructional phase, and he had to guide her back to the starting position three times. Officer Fusco then gave the instructions for the actual test, telling McClung that she needed to take nine consecutive heel-to-toe steps along the line, perform a turn ensuring the front foot remained grounded while the right foot took multiple small steps, and then take another nine heel-to-toe steps back. He added that she should keep her arms by her sides and count each step out loud.
“First nine: Ms. McClung took a total of 11 steps, missed heel-to-toe on every step with a gap of greater than one inch. She stepped off the line on steps 2,3,6,7,8,10. She did not perform the turn as demonstrated/explained. Instead, she did an about face,” Officer Fusco said. “Second nine: Ms. McClung took a total of 15 steps. She missed heel-to-toe on every step other than 6 and 7. Each miss was a gap greater than one inch. She used her arms for balance throughout the test and did not count any of her steps out loud. I asked her how many steps she took each time and she said 12 or 13. I asked her how many I told her to take and she stated 14.”
The third test Officer Fusco had McClung perform was the “one leg stand.”
Officer Fusco positioned McClung in the instructional stance, which required her to keep her arms by her sides and her feet together. During the instructional phase, Officer Fusco said that McClung had to “put her feet out to catch her balance.” Officer Fusco added that the test would be conducted twice, once with each foot.
For the first attempt, he directed her to elevate her right foot approximately six inches off the ground, to about the height of a soda can. She was to point her toe forward, keep both legs straight, and while gazing at her toe’s tip, count in a rhythm of “one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three,” and so on. Officer Fusco further informed her that, should her foot touch the ground, she needed to raise it again and continue counting from where she left off, all while keeping her arms at her sides.
“Right foot raised: Ms. McClung put her foot down on 4,5,8,9 and then the test was stopped for safety. During this time she did sway, used her arms for balance, hopped,” Officer Fusco said. “Left foot raised: […] When performing the test, she put her foot down on 2,3,8,9,11. The test was stopped for safety. She used her arms for balance, swayed while balancing, but did not hop.
The fourth performed was the Modified Romberg Balance test, which assesses an individual’s balance and proprioception.
“Modified Romberg Balance test: Ms. McClung estimated the passage of 30 seconds in 49 seconds. I asked her how long that was and she said 33 seconds. I asked her how long did I tell her to estimate and she did not answer the question. When asked how she got to that time she stated she counted ‘33 thousand, 34 thousand, 35 thousand.’ She exhibited a three-inch circular sway.”
The fifth – and last – test Officer Fusco asked her to perform was the “finger to nose test.”
Officer Fusco explained to McClung that she was to touch her nose’s tip with her finger’s tip. He provided a demonstration to clarify. He further instructed her to extend her fingers outward down by her side and showed her what he meant. Initially, Ms. McClung followed the direction, but soon after, she began flailing her arms. During the exercise, she made several attempts: First, she made contact with her nose’s bridge using her left finger’s pad. Next, she missed her nose, instead touching her upper lip with the knuckles of her right fist. On her third attempt, she again touched the bridge of her nose with her left finger’s pad. On the fourth, she inadvertently touched her eye with her right finger’s pad. The fifth time, she was supposed to use her right hand but mistakenly used her left finger’s pad to touch the bridge of her nose. On the final attempt, she correctly touched the tip of her nose with the pad of her left finger.
After failing the field sobriety tests, Officer Fusco placed McClung under arrest for OUI Liquor.
McClung was transported to the Somerville Police Station where she was booked.
“The Breathalyzer was not functioning and she was then transported to the State Police Barracks in Medford to perform the Breath Test,” Officer Fusco said. “She attempted the breath test three separate times, but could not provide a proper sample. The refusal was then processed.”
In addition to the citation for OUI Liquor, Officer Fusco also filed a crash report for the car accident.